Yahoo! Launches New Music Service with Multichannel Campaign

Yahoo launched an integrated marketing campaign today to promote its new music subscription service, Yahoo Music Unlimited

The brand-building campaign, from agencies Soho Square and OgilvyOne, San Francisco, will include online media, television, radio, outdoor, wild postings, guerilla and influencer marketing. Creative features “Minipops,” miniature, pixelated versions of celebrities created by Berlin-based artist Craig Robinson.

The Minipops in the Yahoo campaign include well known musicians like Green Day, Missy Elliot, Big & Rich, and Ciara. These characters will be featured performing throughout several elements of the multimedia campaign.

“When you’re doing something with the Yahoo brand on it, it has to be something that will make people want to yodel, and leave them with a smile,” said Cammie Dunaway, Yahoo’s CMO. “We wanted to market it in a way that will connect with a youthful target market in a way that would spotlight our unique product offering, but also continue to build the brand.”

Rich media executions include interactive and peelback ads throughout the Yahoo network, as well as on MySpace and MTV.com. One execution, “Bounce with Missy,” allows consumers to interact with a mini Missy Elliott through a dance lesson. “Trick Daddy’s Frequalizer” lets users make the mini-pops dance to their favorite genre of music, or the sound of their own voice.

“The online executions are exciting, because they give us the opportunity to demonstrate the ability for online to tell stories and engage the audience,” Dunaway said.

While the core target market is the 18 to 24 year-old demographic, Yahoo has been careful to make its ads appeal broadly to the “young and young at heart,” Dunaway said.

All the ads and marketing pieces feature the tagline “Over A Million Songs — 5 Bucks a Month — This is Huge.” The four-month campaign kicks off at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28. In addition to launching three :30 TV spots during the event, Yahoo will send street teams to Miami for the awards show. They’ll ride Yahoo-emblazoned Segways and a Mini Cooper around town to pass out CDs, T-shirts, keychains and stickers to promote the service. Yahoo will also host several private events with celebrities and influencers.

TV spots will continue to air on MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, and will be joined by radio ads and local advertising in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“What makes this campaign really work is that it’s built on a big idea,” said Alda Abbracciamento, Soho Square’s managing director. “That ideal enables each individual execution, from print to TV to online, to take the mini-pops into the world of entertainment, delivering highly enjoyable experiences that go well beyond what traditional advertising alone could deliver.”

The service, which has been available in beta since May, is now widely available to U.S. consumers. Subscribers can play unlimited tracks on a PC or compatible portable device for a monthly fee, and get a discount on “burnable” music files which can be played on any Windows Media-compatible device. Users can also share songs with other Yahoo Messenger users, as long as they are also subscribers. Non-subscribers will still hear a 30-second clip of the song.

The big portals have been gearing up their music offerings to take on Apple’s iTunes for much of the past year. Yahoo added download and subscription technology to its four-year-old Launch online radio service when it acquired MusicMatch in September 2004. MSN launched a beta of MSN Music a few weeks later.

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